Portland journalist attacked, equipment stolen at protest

July 3, 2019

Andy Ngo, an independent photojournalist and editor for Quillette, was attacked and had his equipment stolen while documenting an antifa counter-protest in Portland, Oregon, on June 29, 2019.

Ngo is an out-spoken critic of antifa and has covered antifa demonstrations and protests since 2016, primarily publishing the videos taken on his GoPro to Twitter and YouTube. Ngo told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he does not wear press identification or badges while covering protests, but openly films and identifies himself as media to those who ask. He also said that he has become well-known to the antifa community in Portland and has “come to expect” their hostility against him.

The far-right group The Proud Boys originally announced the Portland rally for June 29, almost exactly one year after the “Battle of Portland.” That event was marked with street fights and dueling protesters, and was ultimately classified as a riot by the Portland Police Department.

In planning an opposition rally, local antifa demonstrators called the Proud Boy rally an “attack,” and published a ”call to defend” the city. The post mentioned Ngo in a section labeled “Violent and Racist Proud Boy Propaganda,” and described him as a “local far-right Islamophobic journalist.”

The day before the rally, Ngo tweeted out screenshots from the post, writing, “I am nervous about tomorrow’s Portland antifa rally. They’re promising ‘physical confrontation’ & have singled me out to be assaulted.”

Ngo and the public relations firm he has contracted to handle his media requests following the incident did not respond to requests for comment.

The Guardian reported that early on the day of the protest and counter-protests, Ngo was filming when protesters dumped a milkshake on him. Later video taken by Oregonian journalist Jim Ryan showed Ngo being hit and sprayed with silly string by masked individuals who appeared to be antifa demonstrators at around 1:30 p.m.

Ngo tweeted that he “was beat on face and head multiple times in downtown in middle of street with fists and weapons” and that he was taken to an emergency room. Ngo also posted photos of his facial abrasions.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Ngo said that he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage.

A Vox explainer article outlines the history between Ngo, The Proud Boys and antifa, and how Ngo is considered by some to be more of a provocateur than journalist. Some have pointed out that Ngo was the only journalist targeted.

For the purposes of the Tracker, Ngo identifies as a journalist, has a track record of publication and was in the process of documenting when he was attacked. For more about how the Tracker counts incidents, see our frequently asked questions page.

Portland protests have become a dangerous beat over the past year: the Tracker has documented multiple journalists covering the demonstrations and riots being injured by far-right and antifa protesters, as well as by Portland police.

— The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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